Eric dropped Dave off at the airport at 5:00AM (thanks, Eric) and we met him for breakfast at 8AM. He was the worse for wear, at 12:30AM, the floor fire alarm went off, scaring the heck out of us. The worst is the mechanical voice stating. â€œWe are investigatingâ€. You just lay there and hope you donâ€™t die, and listen to the fire trucks come. The you go back to sleep. Turns out Dave went downstairs, and it was some control system that wasnâ€™t right. Eric couldnâ€™t sleep anyway, and being waken up by an alarm is not good.
After breakfast, we headed off to Jasper. Of course, we have to make it thru the traffic on 97 St and 1, which was so backed up with construction it took us an extra half hour to get out of Edmonton. After the escape, we made good time all the way to Jasper, stooping for gas once in Niton Junction. We stopped at the gate to Jasper National Park and a pleasant woman asked our plans and charged us for two days in Jasper and Banff. (35CAD)
On the way, we discussed attractions. We wanted to be frugal, but heck, we were on vacation and wanted to see everything. Tina had recommended the Maligne Lake tour in Jasper, and based on the pictures on the Web, I wanted in. We called on the way â€“ no reservations on the phone, and only two slots each in the two cruises remaining in our arrival timeframe.
POINT: From Edmonton, go directly to the lake â€“ they sell tickets there too.
We stayed at the Athabasca Hotel in Jasper, centrally located and loaded with personality. It looked like an old Western hotel, and Ericâ€™s room certainly did with a single washstand, and bed â€“ and thatâ€™s it. He had a common washroom, which saved money but was not going to work for Bette.
We went to the visitor center first, looking for the Maligne Lake tour. They directed us to the Brewster center down XXX street, but we had trouble finding it. We managed to walk down most of the streets downtown â€“ it is small and very manageable, and eventually found the office, and signed up for the 3PM tour. We first stopped at the hotel, found our rooms not ready, and headed out to the Maligne Lake road, a bit XXX of Jasper. Well, the road is, but you drive at least a half hour to get to the lake from the main road.
We of course missed the big â€œPâ€ sign and had to U-Turn to get into the parking lot. Ran into the ticket office, exchanged our vouchers for boarding passes and went into the visitor center / gift shop / snack shop to try to eat a bit.